Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Lasting Impresssion By Tamera Alexander Book Review

// A    L a s t i n g    I m p r e s s i o n //

B y   T a m e r a   A l e x a n d e r

R e v i e w s    B y    B e t h a n y   &    M a d i
Title: A Lasting Impression
Author: Tamera Alexander
Madi's Source: Purchased From Amazon
Bethany's Source: Library 
Number Of Pages: 430
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0622-1
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2011
Madi's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
Bethany's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

Description (Taken From Goodreads):

Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville only a year after the War Between the States has ended, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe. She considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But after he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged the man. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville's society, Claire believes her dream to create a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her fraudulent past remains hidden.

The Federal Army has destroyed Sutton's home and confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him and to right a grievous wrong reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves.

Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they really are.
// B e t h a n y ' s    R e v i e w //

I give A Lasting Impression 5 stars, and really, really enjoyed it!

Pros ::
It's been a while since I read a book that left such an impact on my heart. This book, though VERY long {400+ pages}, was very entertaining and despite my expectations of it being boring at bits due to the length of the book, it wasn't! Usually when I least expected it, a burst of new action came. I loved how Tamara incorporated Christianity into the female character, Claire's life. At the beginning of the book Claire is involved in an occupation that was illegal and later held many secrets and occasionally told lies. However, despite the negative life Claire lives at the beginning, towards the end Claire is truly repentant and was a new woman through her finding Christ in the story. It was a wonderful story of the difference Christ can make in a woman's life when she goes from a sinner to a sinner saved by Grace. The story reminded me of the verse in the Bible which talks about being a new creature in Christ, how the old had past and all things are made new. I really enjoyed seeing that transformation in Claire. At the end of the book I was left thinking "Wow!" The story line was very well written and the plot was perfect with a wonderful ending!

Cons ::
Unfortunately this book has a few things I was disappointed with. There was a lot of lying and deceit at the beginning of the book on Claire's part. Another thing was I found the romance level to be a bit more than I'm normally comfortable with, and there were several passionate kissing scenes that I felt like skipping. The biggest thing I found offensive is towards the end of the book, Claire goes wading in the creek, with a immodest amount of clothing on, and Sutton, the male character "walks in" on her without realizing she was dressed in only her undergarments. It never went any farther than this, but I felt it could have been left out, that it wasn't necessary. Due to the cons listed above, I'd only recommend this book for girls 13+.

// M a d i ' s    R e v i e w  //

Okay, I'll admit that the first time I picked up this book, I was a little worried. It's SO long! Most of the time books this long tend to get a bit dry and boring in places. Not "A Lasting Impression"! This book kept me interested from beginning to end. It is a truly wonderful book. This is actually the second time I have read it. The first time I rented it from the library, and the second time I bought a paperback version online so I could grace my own bookshelf with it just in case I wanted to read it yet again (I'm a bit of a book hoarder). I usually don't buy books that I have already read, just because I would rather buy something that I still haven't been able to read but want to, but this and "Jenna's Cowboy" are my exceptions. "A Lasting Impression" lives up to it's title, and truly leaves a lasting impression (see what I did there?). The characters are so real. In a lot of books the characters are made to fit the plot, which a lot of times makes them seem very unrealistic. Though I feel that this book has the perfect "cast", the author made them easy to relate to and easier to believe. I really can't stand it when a book character is just so . . . perfect. Perfect upbringing, perfect appearance, perfect friends, perfect life, save one minor problem. Though this book has a happy ending, it still has a certain genuine quality about it. I think that is largely due to it's length. The author really took time to depict what each character was thinking or feeling, and she described the venue so well that I felt that I was walking down the halls of the Belmont Mansion. Now when I say that, I don't mean that she put in so much detail that it distracts you from the story (please, Shakespeare did enough of that to last us a while), but she did make sure the reader had a good grasp on what was going on and where it was happening, without boring us to tears. It's a fine line, and I think Tamera Alexander did a good job not being too extreme about it.


-My second favorite character was Mrs Acklen (but no one can trump Mr Sutton in this tale). She was as sweet as could be, and had a good, giving heart. But she wasn't about to take any lip from anyone. She kinda reminds me of my gramma in a way.
-Claire was a sweet girl, and made a good lead role, but she still wasn't my favorite. She was trying to change her life and do what's right, but at the same time she didn't want anyone to know about her unlawful past.
-Sutton. Yeahhhh boy. The perfect gentleman. Not really. But he was adorable (at least he was in my head).

Claire and Sutton get off to a rough start, but, of course, they end up together (SPOILER ALERT). She loves him all though he's penniless, and he loves her even though she was a little dishonest. They were the perfect fit. Neither of them were perfect, but they made the perfect couple. I really wish there was a sequel to "A Lasting Impression". I would buy it in a heart beat. Wouldn't give it a second thought. Wouldn't bat an eyelash. You get the picture. There was one con though. There were a few too many romantic scenes. Nothing too terribly inappropriate, but I would check out reviews and/or read it for yourself before you decide on letting a child or little sibling read it. Some people would say that it wasn't that bad, some people would say that they don't want their teen daughter reading about that sort of thing and filling her mind with it. It's kind of a iffy thing. Once again though, it didn't hint at anything inappropriate, and it didn't describe anything that would be frowned upon, but there were quite a few kissing scenes. The choice is yours, it's totally a matter of opinion. Overall though, this is one of the best books that I have on my shelves (and as I mentioned earlier, I have quite a few).I hope that you will take the time to read this book, and/or some more of this authors book. I've read a few of her other books and I really enjoyed them.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Isaiah 40:28-31

{Post By Madi}

Hey There Friendys:)

Today I was catching up on my blogging and someone had posted an inspiring piece of scripture, so I figured I would pass it along to you folks. After all, The Bible is the best book that you could possibly ever read.

Isaiah 40:28-31 "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Have a super day!!!

~The Literary Maidens

To Read, Or Not To Read . . . ?

Adventure awaits.{Written By Miss Bethany Ann}
Here I am again. In the same place I was several weeks ago. I am sitting on my bed with the excitement of a new library book in my hands. I have heard about this book from various friends and was thrilled to find the library has it for rent. I eagerly checked it out and bring it home and now open it's pages to begin reading. As excitement rushes over me, I begin to read. But I quickly come to a portion of the book I find questionable. I wonder if I should continue with the story. I hope it doesn't get worse and that I can avoid the obvious. I try to realize were my standards go and if this particular situation goes over that line. I get so into the book I feel like I have to find out what happens in the end, and that if I had to stop just because of one..or honestly speaking, several...{little} issues, that I will be haunted forever with the fact of never finishing the book. I sit there, eyes on the book cover and wonder "To read...or not to read?" A simple question it is really, but the complication overwhelms me and I struggle to make a choice. Will I finish it...or will I put it down and return it to the library unfinished. As my soul fights the spiritual battle, my mind wrestles with the path before me. I must choose which fork to go down. To finish it or not.


Ladies, I simply cannot tell you how often I've been in this position. Over and over I find myself in this predicament. I can think of several times were I was faced with the simple question "Will I continue reading or not" and though it sounds simple, only requiring a "yes" or "no", I find that at the time this question seems more complicated the more I think about it. I'm sure you can all relate, we have all had a time when we were faced with this decision. Sometimes we choose the right one, sometimes the wrong. I've had both happen to me with different outcomes in each situation. I've had times I questioned the book, but did finish it and found I liked it and it was within my standards. But I've also had times I questioned the story and continued on only to find that later on the issues were only snowballing and that far into the story I was so intent on finding out what happens that I have to rip myself from the book with a broken heart. Were if I'd have only put it down and not finished the book to begin with I'd have saved the heart ache that I really knew was coming. 

In today's age there are so many books out there. Some are just as evil and bad and some are good and helpful. The tricky part is knowing were each book falls and if it is safe to read according to your personal guidelines or standards. I fine that sometimes though the library can be a very beneficial source, the simplicity of being able to check virtually any book out for free causes me not to carefully speculate and evaluate a book before checking it out as I would do if I were paying for it. Since I can get it for free, I wonder if that one issue that pops up on the back cover description is really all that bad, and if I don't set standards ahead of time the lines get blurred and I compromise. Were as, normally if I'd have to pay for a book, I'd evaluate it closer and tell myself to put it back on the rack, the easiness of just checking it out makes me compromise. And we all know that with each compromise we lower the standards bit by bit to were eventually we have a big downhill snowball that is virtually impossible to stop and we are left with no standards at all. No one wants to be in this place, but how do we avoid it while still reading good books?

One of the things I've learned recently that saves a whole lot of trouble and complication when deciding whether a book is profitable reading material or not is to simple confront your parents. I know it sounds crazy, but when it all comes down to the wire, if you'd ask yourself  "Would I be nervous if my parents read this book's back cover?" would simplify our questions and make the difficult question much, much easier to answer. I've recently committed myself to having my mom look over all library books before I check them out. In the past, I've skipped over this step because (a) I didn't think mom would approve and tried to get away with it knowing I probably shouldn't check it out but go ahead anyway. or (b) because I didn't think it necessary because I heard from all my friends that it was a clean book. But either way most of the time mom would ask what I was reading and I'd get "caught" and have to pry myself away from the book when I could have easily avoided this with asking her in the first place. Usually, when I make the choice to read a book or not, I have to make the choice before I start it. Because I will usually get so involved with the book I can't just put it down half way through and not have a burning passion to finish the story, so I might as well confront the issue before hand to save the ripping myself from the book part later on which hurts more in the end. I'd highly encourage you to have your reading life something you actively share with your parents. Tell them what you are reading, share your thoughts on it. Ask them what their standards for you are, so that you know ahead of time if something is acceptable within their guidelines or not. Be open with them and don't hide anything. Chances are if you are hiding it from parents, you shouldn't be reading it.

Looks so cozy!Ladies, if you are finding yourself having a hard time to know whether you should read a certain book or not, to simply things just ask yourself these questions:
  • Is it something I'd be afraid of my parents finding me reading? In my heart-of-hearts, do I know that mom or dad would say a definite "no" to this? Am I beating around the bush, knowing they'd say no, but trying to get away with it anyways? If so then honestly, is this wholesome for your reading habits and your relationship with your parents?
  • Would I feel okay reading this book out loud? If not, then more than likely it's not something you want to fill your mind with because you know, you are what you read. The more you put it in your brain, the more you think about it and eventually, it will weasel it's way into your words and actions.
  • Would you want your future daughter reading it? Ouch.
  • If you are contemplating whether certain actions of a character are okay to read, {for example, harshness with siblings, feminism world-view, disrespect for parents, etc.} then ask yourself if you'd be okay with these actions being your own? If you were that character, would you freak out at the thought of your friends and family seeing you act this way? Remember, what you fill your mind with will become a part of you.
  • Would you be okay with Jesus seeing you read this book? Because, really, Christ is all-knowing and sees everything! There is no hiding with Christ. He knows our hearts motive and we will be judged one day.
So really, shed in this light, is that complicated question so complicated anymore? In the end it all boils down to whether we will obey Christ and our parents or whether we will give way to temptation. We must choose, and I pray that that choice would be the first.

Very true!
Whatever your standards, dear sisters, always stand firm and remember that in the end, if you don't finish a book it's not the end of the world. I often have to tell myself that the world WILL continue to go round even if I don't finish a book. :) And you know what, in the end, it's okay. Because will it be something I regret at the end of my life? Will I really look at my life several years from now and think "Man, I really wish I'd have finished that book! I'd totally have something to talk about with my girlfriends now!" Will I wish I'd have spent my time differently? Would I have wished I'd have spent that time with my family or with Jesus?    Remember that only what it done for Christ will last. Keep up the good fight!
~The Literary Maidens